Metrics That Matter
Be careful: ISPs look at bounces by sender, and a high percentage of bounces may result in your e-mail being blocked.
2. Open rates. This data allows senders to know how many recipients opened the message, offering marketers insight into how well their brand and subject line resonate. Generally, open rates only are available for HTML e-mail. They can be misleading (recipients may have their preview pane set to display the first few lines of a message, and this would be counted as an open) and should be used as a relative measurement to compare and contrast campaigns over time. Look at total opens and unique opens. Unique opens measure the number of individuals who open a message, not the total number of times a message was opened.
3. Click-throughs. This is the number of recipients who clicked on a link or image in an e-mail and followed a hyperlink to a Web site for additional content. Each link in an e-mail should be tracked separately. You'll want to examine the total number of click-throughs, unique activity and specific link results. Total click-throughs measure the number of times any link was accessed. Unique click-throughs measure the total individuals who clicked on any link. Specific link results allow you to determine what content or promotions in the e-mail captured the target audience's attention.
4. Unsubscribes (opt-outs). The number of recipients who ask to have their e-mail addresses removed from the list distribution. Most direct marketers will see unsubscribe rates of 0.2 percent.
5. Referrals or pass-alongs. This metric measures the number of recipients who forward the message along to a friend or colleague.
6. Sales. Some reporting systems also can tie in buying behavior generated by an e-mail. For e-commerce sites, this information is critical to determining success.
As you examine overall results, you'll also want to compare and contrast your overall metrics with industry averages.